—Jamie McEachin, Head Copy Editor—
On Sunday, November 5, daylight savings for 2017 will go into effect. What does this mean for Cosby high school’s students, when our school’s start time is the earliest in the county?
Students who drive to Cosby deal with the challenge of driving before daylight everyday, but only until November 5. After that, though the sun will begin rising fully before the start of school at 7:15 AM, our days will seem much shorter, as daylight will be over around 6:00 PM.
For high school students, there will be less time in the day for after-school jobs, extracurricular activities, or even large amounts of homework. But with physical darkness of the evenings comes other issues. Students may begin to feel the effects seasonal depression, or seasonal effective disorder.
“In a given year, about 5 percent of the U.S. population experiences seasonal depression,” according to Mental Health America,“Symptoms that are typically more common in seasonal depression than in other forms of depression are carbohydrate craving, increased appetite, excessive sleepiness, and weight gain.”
Women are more likely to suffer from seasonal depression, as four out of five people who experience symptoms are female.
The Mental Health America website explains, “The reduced level of sunlight in the fall and winter months may affect an individual’s serotonin, a neurotransmitter that affects mood. Lower levels of serotonin have been shown to be linked to depression.”
Melatonin, which is “a sleep-related hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain,” has also been linked to seasonal depression. The hormone affects sleep patterns and mood, and is produced at higher levels in the dark; “when the days are shorter and darker the production of this hormone increases.” The earlier darkness caused by daylight savings can also change circadian rhythm, disrupting the usual sleep and wake rhythms.
Cosby students may feel these symptoms in the fall and winter symptoms, and there’s a likelihood that they are mistaken to just be a part of life in fall and winter, and exaggerated by daylight savings. However, it is important that students are aware of the effects that time of year and light will have on them, so they are able to cope just a bit more with the stress of the winter months.
Header Photo Courtesy to Jaime McEachin